Department of Public Health and Human Services

VISTA

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Prevention Resource Center VISTA Project

Current PRC VISTA Host Sites

Bozeman

Hopa Mountain

Current VISTA: Samantha Sabanos

The goal of this project is to reduce school dropout rates by connecting low-income teens to resources for the application process, and expanding access to resources for at-risk students who are enrolled in postsecondary educational institutions. This will require identifying students in low-income communities and establish partnerships; compiling a database of resources; and conducting research and analyze data to identify gaps in service and expand access for low-income communities. The project will move low-income youth out of poverty by connecting them to resources for the college application process, and connecting them to resources while in college resulting in increased opportunities for employment and engagement.


Gallatin Valley Food Bank

Current VISTA: Mattie Griswold

The goal of the project is to increase access to healthy foods for low income youth by developing a teaching garden that will generate interest in the production and use of nutritious foods. This will require engaging youth in the development and management of a teaching garden, and recruiting youth struggling with food security to manage, market and ultimately, directly benefit from their garden produce. This project will help alleviate poverty by providing at risk youth opportunities to increase food security by learning gardening techniques unique to Montana weather, nutrition, and how to cook healthy meals using fresh produce


Sprout Oral Health

Current VISTA: Jamie Luong

The goal of the project is to increase access to preventative health care for children from low-income families by increasing school based dental programs to communities in rural Montana. This will require seeking input from community partners and the public; standardizing and developing programmatic toolkits and online trainings; identifying communities with the greatest needs of, and barriers to, preventative dental healthcare; developing new partnerships in communities; and developing a volunteer program. This project will alleviate poverty by preventing dental disease in low-income children. Studies have demonstrated that poor oral health decreases employability and increases lost work hours resulting in reduced business productivity as adults. 

 

Butte

No Kid Hungry

Current VISTA: Haley McKnight

The goal of this project is to increase food access for low-income students in the Butte School District by developing and expanding school breakfast, afterschool, and summer meal programs. This will require developing and administering assessments to staff and students; developing and implementing a strategic plan for alternative breakfast models; developing and implementing a strategic plan for afterschool meal programs; developing a strategic plan for summer meals programs; and developing a volunteer network to organize and sustain the project. The project will move low-income students out of poverty by increasing access to food resources both during and after school hours. 

Great Falls

No Kid Hungry

Current VISTA: Gabriel Fresa 

The goal of this project is to increase food access for low-income students in the Great Falls School District by developing and expanding school breakfast, afterschool, and summer meal programs. This will require developing and administering assessments to staff and students; developing and implementing a strategic plan for alternative breakfast models; developing and implementing a strategic plan for afterschool meal programs; developing a strategic plan for summer meals program; and developing a volunteer network to organize and sustain the project. The project will move low-income students out of poverty by increasing access to food resources both during and after school hours. 

Helena

East Helena Public Schools

Current VISTA: Jess Hegstrom

This project will increase access to mental health services for all low-income residents in East Helena with a specific target of reaching middle school students and their families. This will require developing additional supports for students in the East Helena School District to help cope with stress; finalizing and implementing a 5-year strategic action to address mental health and suicide prevention; and educating the East Helena community in suicide prevention strategies, best practices, and the mental health precursors. This project aims to alleviate the effects of poverty by conducting outreach to families and other members of the greater East Helena community, where 50 percent of students fall at or below the poverty level.


DPHHS - Children's Trust Fund

Current VISTA: Cassidy Corbine

The goal of the project is to increase access to prevention programs in low-income rural and tribal regions which will result in the prevention of child abuse and neglect, increasing healthy lifestyles, encouraging completion of education, and providing families with the ability to interrupt the intergenerational poverty cycle. This will require strengthening (or help form where none currently exist) rural and tribal community coalitions through the development of training curricula and toolkits aimed at connecting those in need to resources. In addition, this will require developing fundraising strategies to ensure the sustainability of the project’s expansion into underserved areas.


6th Ward Community Garden Park

Current VISTA: Dave Tortora

This project will increase access to healthy foods for low-income individuals in the 6th Ward neighborhood by developing a community garden that will generate nutritious food while bringing the community together. This will require reviewing the work completed by the first year VISTA to determine effective community partnerships; seeking out new community partners and continuing to develop the volunteer program; and developing new outreach & education activities for low-income families. This project will help alleviate poverty by providing 6th Ward residents the opportunity to increase their food security through learning gardening techniques unique to Montana weather, nutrition, and how to cook healthy meals using fresh produce.


No Kid Hungry

Current VISTA: Steven Mann

The goal of this project is to increase food access for low-income students in the Helena School District by developing and expanding school breakfast, afterschool, and summer meal programs. This will require developing and administering assessments to staff and students; developing and implementing a strategic plan for alternative breakfast models; developing and implementing a strategic plan for afterschool meal programs; developing a strategic plan for summer meals programs; and developing a volunteer network to organize and sustain the project. The project will move low-income students out of poverty by increasing access to food resources both during and after school hours. 


Prevention Resource Center - VISTA Leaders

Current VISTA Leader: Taylor Crowl

The Prevention Resource Center VISTA Leader provides support and assistance in coordinating the PRC VISTA Program, involving 20+ VISTAs in their efforts to address prevention needs of communities in Montana. The VISTA Leader works to expand and build the capacity of the individual members and their respective sites to alleviate poverty across the state.


Youth Connections 

Current VISTA: Rachel Dober

The goal of this project is to increase access to healthcare to students by engaging the faith-based community in substance abuse prevention efforts and to expand access to support services to youth. This will require identifying and developing partnerships with faith-based communities and other community partners; developing a volunteer recruitment strategy; developing various community resources; education community partners on substance abuse prevention; and developing a base of volunteer trainers who will continue the referral system after the member is gone. This project will help alleviate poverty by increasing access to substance prevention supports; children who are drug and alcohol free increase their chance of being successful in school and in life. 


DPHHS - Injury Prevention Program

Current VISTA: Alyssa McGhee

The goal of the project is to increase access to preventative healthcare to reduce youth illicit use of prescription drugs and other substances, and to reduce overdose deaths in the state. This will require developing an informative mini-grant process; recruiting at least 15 specialists to apply to mini-grant funds; coordinating monthly calls, providing technical assistance and training on volunteer recruitment to mini-grant sites; monitor the success of the program; and finally applying for funding opportunities to ensure sustainability of project. This project will move at risk youth out of poverty by providing evidence-based substance abuse prevention education programs resulting in better outcomes in school and job opportunities.


DOJ - Children's Justice Bureau

Current VISTA: Kayla Argeropoulos

This project will increase access to healthcare services for low-income and at-risk individuals by providing trainings and coordinating efforts across Montana for the prevention, and effective response, to human trafficking. This will require developing a new system to coordinate trainings on human trafficking to agencies and providers; identifying and organizing available community members and agency representatives to provide training; and reporting to the Children’s Justice Bureau with suggestions on how to continue the program. This VISTA project will move low-income individuals, victims, and those at risk of human trafficking out of poverty by increasing access to healthcare services and prevention resources across the state.


Montana Primary Care Association

Current VISTA: Nat Cortes

The goal of this project is to increase access to healthcare for low-income individuals by addressing the social determinants of health in their communities, and connecting patients with enabling services. This will require providing public education around outreach and enrollment; facilitating the expansion of Cover Montana scope of services; building upon Cover Montana’s model to include targeted enabling services; and evaluating the success of Cover Montana expansion. This project will move vulnerable Montanans out of poverty by increasing access to healthcare for low-income individuals by addressing social determinants of health in Montana communities.


Montana Afterschool Alliance

Current VISTA: Olivia Manusia

The goal of this project is to improve academic engagement for students living in poverty by identifying barriers facing low-income students and expanding afterschool participation across the state. This will require researching and contacting current afterschool programs; developing a database of afterschool programs, including opioid abuse programs; determining what barriers low-income students face in participating in afterschool programs; developing a communication plan and tools; and developing new partnerships with local and state programs. This project will help alleviate poverty by closing the achievement gap for students living in poverty by increasing access to afterschool programming in low-income communities. 


DPHHS - Adult Protective Services

Current VISTA: Jared Nepal

The goal of this project is to increase access to healthcare for low-income seniors by developing and disseminating educational materials and training modules to healthcare professionals and community members working on elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. This will require facilitating community assessments; developing partnerships with community organizations; developing educational pieces on decision-making, guardianship, and safe handling of opioids; developing a training program; and implementing the program in four communities in Montana. This project will alleviate poverty by preventing elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation, keeping more seniors financially secure. 

Livingston

Big Brothers Big Sisters

Current VISTA: Maddy Brown

The goal of this project is to increase academic engagement and improve student performance by establishing new matches between at-risk youth and qualified volunteer mentors. This will require developing a sustainable volunteer recruitment plan; ensuring volunteer retention and help form a sense of community among mentors; and creating and implementing a volunteer marketing and communications plan. This project will move at people out of poverty by providing a mentoring program for risk youth resulting in better outcomes in school and job opportunities. At-risk youth are more likely to do better in school, build better relationships and gain a more positive outlook on their future when paired with a nonparent mentor, aka. a “Big.”

Missoula

Open Aid Alliance

Current VISTA: Chris Gardner

This project will provide at-risk individuals with co-occurring mental health and addiction access to healthcare by creating an effective crisis and suicide response team for Missoula County resulting in a chance to improve social, economic and emotional outcomes. The intended result of this program is to work with community partners to identify a response plan for this issue. To achieve success, we must hear from community partners, law enforcement, medical providers and those affected by mental health and suicide crisis to establish an appropriate response. This will strengthen systems and help vulnerable low-income individuals struggling with addiction, including opioid abuse, and mental illness to escape poverty.

Poplar

No Kid Hungry

Current VISTA: Joanna Fitzmorris

The goal of this project is to increase food access for low-income students in Poplar School District by developing and expanding school breakfast, afterschool, and summer meal programs. This will require developing and administering assessments to staff and students; developing and implementing a strategic plan for alternative breakfast models; developing and implementing a strategic plan for afterschool meal programs; developing a strategic plan for summer meals program; and developing a volunteer network to organize and sustain the project. The project will move low-income students out of poverty by increasing access to food resources both during and after school hours. 

Sidney

No Kid Hungry

Current VISTA: David Adams

The goal of this project is to increase food access for low-income students in the Sidney School District by developing and expanding school breakfast, afterschool, and summer meal programs. This will require developing and administering assessments to staff and students; developing and implementing a strategic plan for alternative breakfast models; developing and implementing a strategic plan for afterschool meal programs; developing a strategic plan for summer meals program; and developing a volunteer network to organize and sustain the project. The project will move low-income students out of poverty by increasing access to food resources both during and after school hours. 

Bigfork, Somers, and Lakeside

No Kid Hungry

Current VISTA: Davis Neuhouser

The goal of this project is to increase food access for low-income students in the Bigfork and Somers-Lakeside School Districts by developing and expanding school breakfast, afterschool, and summer meal programs. This will require developing and administering assessments to staff and students; developing and implementing a strategic plan for alternative breakfast models; developing and implementing a strategic plan for afterschool meal programs; developing a strategic plan for summer meals program; and developing a volunteer network to organize and sustain the project. The project will move low-income students out of poverty by increasing access to food resources both during and after school hours. 

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